Frederick M. Dolan Professor of Humanities at California College of the Arts and Professor Emeritus of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. After earning my Ph.D. at Princeton in 1987 I taught at Berkeley for the better part of two decades, in the Department of Rhetoric – then something of a wildlife preserve that sheltered scholars in many fields including literature, film, intellectual history, law, politics, and sociology as well as philosophy. Thanks partly to that, I’ve worked on a variety of topics over the years, including political and moral philosophy, philosophy of art, philosophy of mind, hermeneutics, and American politics and culture. In 2006 I retired from Berkeley to become associate dean of graduate studies at California College of the Arts, and in 2008 I returned to teaching. In Visual and Critical Studies I frequently teach the Strategies seminar, and in other courses lately I’ve concentrated on the concept of art, the meaning of life, political and moral philosophy, technology, and the public versus the social spheres. I’m a strong believer in liberal education and the study of the great books of the Western canon, but I also have an abiding interest in the religion, art, and literature of India, China, and Japan (only in translation, sadly). Among the mighty dead, thinkers I’ve found especially compelling include Plato, Aristotle, Montaigne, Pascal, Hobbes, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and Arendt.
My 1994 book Allegories of America: Narratives, Metaphysics, Politics was recently chosen for inclusion in the Humanities Open Books Program (jointly sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), which will make an e-book version of it discoverable on the open web and freely available to a global audience.